Develop a Strategy & Program

Whether an organization is starting a new knowledge management (KM) effort or evaluating an existing program, it is crucial to have a documented KM strategy. Developing a KM strategy that is aligned to your business objectives is key to successfully implementing KM in your organization. A KM strategy will provide alignment, accountability, and agility. It will help your KM team remain focused on business priorities and needs. 

APQC Helps Strengthen KM at the U.S. Navy

Effective knowledge sharing is vital to aircraft carrier maintenance process improvement efforts. Working with the U.S. Navy Carrier Team One (CT1), APQC helped to improve its knowledge management strategy and program.

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Best Practices for Designing an Effective Knowledge Management Strategy

Based on more than 25 years experience helping leading organizations develop and implement knowledge management (KM) strategies, we have identified numerous best practices for designing an effective KM strategy.

The KM strategy should balance people, process, and technology concerns.
Each element needs enablers and capabilities to help critical knowledge move throughout the organization.

The KM strategy should contribute to overall organizational goals.
Focus on supporting the flow of critical information and expertise through business processes, and balance immediate and long-term needs. The strategy should clearly articulate the relationship between KM activities and bottom-line objectives.

The KM strategy should be timely.
It should include key activities sequenced to build capabilities that will enhance the overall infrastructure and demonstrate organizational value “sooner, rather than later.”

The KM strategy should leverage common processes and technology.
By leveraging a common knowledge flow process and enabling the process using standard IT tools, KM should support collaboration within and among business units and functions.

The KM strategy should transform the perception and value of KM.
If successful, the strategy will yield tangible results, reduce redundancy and duplication of effort (and investment), and enhance competitiveness.


APQC helped us create our initial Knowledge Management strategy. We took a hybrid approach, designing for a Six Sigma framework coupled with APQC’s methodology, and it has remained the foundation for our program since 2011.

Marty Lipa, Merck

Here are four steps you’ll need to take to develop an effective KM strategy

Vertical Image of APQC's KM Strategy Flow Chart

  1. Assess your current KM capabilities. 
    Using APQC’s Knowledge Management Capability Assessment Tool (KM CAT) or another means, determine the actions required to establish a successful KM program in your organization. The KM CAT looks at your KM competencies in four key capabilities: strategy, people, process, and content and IT.
  2. Explore business value and select pilot opportunities. 
    Identify business imperatives based on critical knowledge. Assess business value for KM. Secure buy-in from key stakeholders. Scope and prioritize business opportunities. Develop business cases for action.
  3. Define the KM strategy. 
    Align KM to the business. Define the value proposition for enhancing the flow of knowledge across the organization. Set objectives and goals for KM. Identify resources and budgets for developing strategic and implementation plans. Identify the initial governance for KM efforts.
  4. Develop a KM strategic plan and implementation roadmap. 
    Define strategic priorities to provide focus and linkage to business priorities and critical knowledge domains. Create an implementation plan and roadmap to guide the development of capabilities in support of knowledge flow and collaboration.